Here’s an interesting heads up from New Scientist (Link): the Aerospace Controls Lab at MIT (Link) is working on autonomous, cooperative aerial vehicles; i.e. robot aircraft that work together. From the MIT Project page:
We are investigating techniques that will enable the execution of continuous (24-7) mission operations using multiple autonomous vehicles (i.e., vehicle SWARMS) in a dynamic environment. We believe that a massively-distributed, intelligent airborne capability with little human supervision has the potential to provide many performance benefits in long-term mission operations.
The video where a pair of these things track a moving ground target, a remote-controlled car, is pretty wild. They each have a quadrant and as the car drives in and out of their zone the robots hand off tracking to each other. I’d call it recommended viewing. And the video showing it landing on a moving target (aircraft carrier) just makes me want to see what the latest designs are for the Littoral Combat Ship I mentioned a while back (reLink). This is some worryingly wicked stuff.
After you check the videos out, stop by to see just how easy it is to get one of the helicopters (Link). They didn’t have those when I was a kid.